Wednesday, December 23, 2020

i would rather buy a house than a cantaloupe

Behrens gravestone
Above While engaged in family history research, I ran across this photograph of the gravestone of my paternal German-born great grandparents, Heinrich Simon Diedrich Behrens (1824-1901) and Anna Christina Elizabeth Edelmann (1835-1921), in the cemetery in Garnavillo, Iowa. It is almost a literal family tree. It certainly differs substantially from the design of my own tombstone.


Philip Roth, Patrimony: A True Story (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990)—

Look, a cantaloupe is a hard thing to buy—maybe the hardest thing there is to buy, when you stop to think about it. A cantaloupe isn’t an apple, you know, where you can tell from the outside what’s going on inside. I’d rather buy a car than a cantaloupe—I’d rather buy a house than a cantaloupe. If one time in ten, I come away from the store with a decent cantaloupe, I consider myself lucky. I smell it, sniff it, press both ends with my thumb…I’ll tell you about making a mistake with a cantaloupe: we all do it. We weren’t made to buy cantaloupe. Do me a favor, Herm, get off the woman's [back], because it isn’t just Lil’s weakness buying a [lousy] cantaloupe: it’s a human weakness.